Balamurugan, 17, is not sure if he will be able to appear for his Class X examination later this year. The prospect of missing the examination, for which he prepared so hard all through the year, brings tears to his eyes.
A resident of Akkaraipettai village in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu, Balamurugan lost all his books and most of his school certificates in last month's tsunami.
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The killer waves that claimed over 6000 lives in the district and close to 8,000 in the state also destroyed a boat that Balamurugan's father used to take to the sea for fishing.
The boy is now hoping his school -- St.Antony Lourde's Middle School -- will support him in this time of crisis. After all, he was the brightest student in his class.
"Balamurugan stood first in his class. He got the first prize in the district drawing competition last year," said Jenniffer, his friend, a student of Class IX in the same school.
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Balamurugan took a break from school when his father could not pay his tuition fee. He helped his father catch fish for two years before his elder brother helped him resume his studies.
About his ambition in life, Balamurugan says: "I would like to become a scientist and take up research activities."
Jenniffer, 14, lost her father in the disaster and is worried about her future. Her mother works for a self-help group in the village. Jenniffer has two younger brothers.
"I am keen to continue my education. But after having lost my father, survival has become a problem. I don't know whether I will be able to continue my studies. Anyway, we don't want to be here, we want to move out of this place."
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